And take…the sword of the Spirit, which  is the word of God.   Ephesians 6:17


Volume 23, Number 19

Published by
Mt. Baker
church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker HWY
Mailing Address:

       P.O. Box 30821
  Bellingham, WA 98228
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All sing last Wednesday

Web sites:
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Editor......Joe R. Price


In this issue:

Take Responsibility
Andy Sochor

While Moses was up on the mountain receiving the Law from God, the people became impatient and asked Aaron to make a “god” for them (Exodus 32:1). He collected their gold and made a golden calf and declared it to be their “god” (Exodus 32:2-4).

The next day the people began worshipping the golden calf (Exodus 32:6). After this, God became angry (32:7-10), Moses interceded for them (Exodus 32:11-14), and then he went down and saw what they were doing and broke the tablets of stone in frustration (Exodus 32:15-19). Finally Moses confronted Aaron: “What did this people do to you, that you have brought such great sin upon them?” (Exodus 32:21).

However, Aaron didn’t want to take responsibility for this. Instead, he blamed the people: “Do not let the anger of my lord burn; you know the people yourself, that they are prone to evil” (Exodus 32:22). His statement about the people was true (Exodus 33:3). Yet that did not excuse him.

It is easy to come up with reasons why we fail to do what we ought to do. It is especially tempting to blame others in these instances. Yet in every case, we are responsible to do what’s right no matter what others do.

So take responsibility. We must not try to justify or excuse our faults and failings because of what others did or didn’t do. Even if our assessment of others is accurate, it doesn’t absolve us of responsibility. We must always do what is right.

-Daily Bible Notes

(Note from today’s Bible reading: Exodus 30-32)


Are There Miracles Today?
Joe R. Price

Almost invariably, when a great blessing occurs or an extraordinary event takes place, someone commenting on it says, “it’s a miracle!” It may be said to acknowledge the astonishing nature of the event (perhaps a drowning person was rescued; a person survived a shot to the head, etc.). Or such a comment may be an attempt to assign the event to the power of God.

There is no dispute that God works in this world to accomplish His purposes. However, every work of God in this world cannot be described scripturally as a “miracle.” God is sovereign, and His hand is in the affairs of men (Rom. 8:28; Phil. 2:13). What is in dispute is whether God has appointed men through whom He works supernatural deeds today (like the apostles of Christ did in the New Testament). The Scriptures say “no” for several reasons. Consider the following two.

(1) The purpose of miracles. Miracles showed the compassion of God and they were also God’s endorsement of the message being preached by the men through whom the miracles were done (Mark 16:15-20; Heb. 2:3-4). The miracles confirmed or validated the word as being divine (Acts 14:3). Once the gospel was confirmed as divine, its validity remains true without further need of validation (Gal. 1:11). Therefore, a vital question must be asked if similar miracles are really happening today: “What is the new revelation that needs to have miraculous confirmation?” While some claim they have new revelation, the Scriptures teach the first century word is incorruptible and sufficient to meet our spiritual needs (1 Pet. 1:22-25; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). There is no new revelation. Therefore, there are no confirming miracles being worked today.

(2) Who had the power to work miracles? The apostles of Christ and those upon whom they laid their hands (to impart miraculous spiritual gifts) were the human agents through whom God worked miracles in the gospel age (Acts 2:1-4; 6:6; 8:4-8, 14-24; 19:6). There are no apostles living today to work miracles and impart miraculous spiritual gifts to others. Thus, the age of miracles has ended.

When astonishing things happen and great blessings occur today, they are not miracles as defined in the Scriptures. Bible miracles left no doubt, even in the eyes of the unbelievers, that a supernatural event had taken place (John 11:42-47; Acts 4:13-16).

There is a difference between miracles and divine providence (God’s activities in this world, including answering prayers, Matt. 7:7-11; Acts 14:17). Our ability to distinguish Bible miracles that were worked through people in Bible times from the blessings of divine providence is the difference between correctly discerning and using God’s word, and being deceived by the deluded claims of modern “miracle workers” and “faith healers” (2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Thess. 2:9-12). 

-Reprint, The Spirit’s Sword (2/20/2011)


You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS


Living a Balanced Life
Joe R. Price

Scripture Reading:  Ecclesiastes 7:13-18

1. Eccl. 7:15-18: The “Golden Mean.”
2. Solomon is not advocating “riding the fence,” compromising with error and sin, or remaining uncommitted, 1 Kings 18:21.
3. He is advising we live in the balance of truth, not on the edges of unproductive, destructive (and sinful) extremism.


  A. Sometimes the Righteous Suffer and the Wicked Prevail on Earth, Eccl. 8:14; 9:11-12; 1 Pet. 2:21; Mal. 3:13-15, 16-18.
  B. Life’s Inequities Tempt Us to Overcompensate, Which Drives Us to Extremes, Eccl. 7:16-18.
    1. Uber-righteousness (self-righteousness), 7:16; Luke 18:9-14; Mark 7:8-13; Rom. 10:2-3.
    2. The conceit of human wisdom, Eccl. 7:16; Rom. 12:3; 1:22; 1 Cor. 1:18-24; Col. 2:8, 21-23.
    3.  Deliberate wickedness that ignores God (skeptical selfishness), Eccl. 7:17; Ps. 10:4, 11; 14:1; 19:13; Heb. 10:26-27; 2 Tim. 3:13.
   4. Foolish, non-committal indifference, Eccl. 7:17; Prov. 1:22, 29-33; Eccl. 7:16-17.


  A. The Balance of Fearing God Avoids the Pitfalls of Extremes, Eccl. 7:18; 8:12-13, 14-9:1; 12:13-14.
  B. The Balanced Life Fears God and Obeys Him, Eph. 4:22-24; 1 John 2:29; 3:7, 10; James 3:13-18; 1 John 2:1; 1 Thess. 5:21-22; 1 John 1:8-10; Heb. 2:1-3; 6:11-12.

Conclusion: Prosperity and adversity in life, Eccl. 7:13-14; Job 2:9-10 (Matt. 6:33-34).


You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS


Marks of Obedience
Joe R. Price

Scripture Reading:  Romans 6:15-23

   What does it take to be obedient? Not an exhaustive list, but Scriptural and balanced.


  A. Obedience Requires Us to Listen to the One We Obey.
    Listen and put oneself under the “voice of the Lord,” 1 Sam. 15:22.

  B. Obedience Requires Submission.
    -Yielding ourselves to the one with authority over us, Rom. 6:16; 8:7; Matt. 26:42 (Rom. 13:1; Col. 3:20; Eph. 5:24; Gal. 5:7).

  C. Obedience Marked by Humility, Phil. 2:8.
    -Disobedience is a trait of pride; Obey from a humble heart, Phil. 2:5; 1 Pet. 1:14.

  D. Obedience Shows Our Faith, James 2:17; Heb. 3:18-19; 11:8.
    -Obedience trusts what God says when we do not yet see the end of our faith, 1 Pet. 1:8-9.

  E. Respect is a Crucial Mark of Obedience, Heb. 12:9 (Rom. 13:7); Phil. 2:12-16.

  F. Obedience is Deliberate and Purposeful, 2 Cor. 10:5 (Acts 24:25); Heb. 5:8; Dan. 6:10.

  G. Devotion of the Heart is Present in Genuine Obedience, Rom. 6:17 (Eph. 6:6).
    -Not from hypocrisy, not to be praised by men; to walk with God by doing His works, Eph. 2:10; 1 Pet. 2:1-2 (1:14).

  H. Love is the Crowning Trait of Obedience, 1 John 5:3; John 14:15, 21-24.
    -Obedience combines love’s respect and humble submission with its trusting devotion to the one we obey.

Conclusion:   Obeying God is not a burden, 1 John 5:3. It expresses the heart’s faith and devotion.


(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Community Standards
Joe R. Price

I don’t get my news from social media (and I do not recommend you do, either), but many do. This headline caught my attention: “Facebook deploys special team as Israel-Gaza conflict spreads across social media” ( Elizabeth Culliford reports, “Misinformation, hate speech and calls for violence about the conflict have circulated on social media platforms amid the deadly fighting. ‘This operations center allows us to closely monitor the situation so we can remove content that violates our community standards faster, while also addressing possible errors in enforcement,’ Monika Bickert, Facebook’s vice president of content policy, told reporters on a conference call.” (Ibid)

Do you see any problem here? Facebook’s “community standards” will determine the “news” they let you see on their platform. That is a reliable news source only if you want Facebook’s standards to choose the news for you.

Please consider some spiritual parallels.

(1) Community standards do not determine truth. All of God’s word is truth (Ps. 119:160; John 17:17). Truth is universally needed and applied (Mark 16:15).

(2) Demand the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). We ought to hear all God says on any given subject, not just what soothes our itch (2 Tim. 4:2-4).

(3) Make sure God’s standard approves your beliefs and practices. The church (the “community”) does not decide what is truth; the church follows the truth. Neither does a community of preachers or any other group. Truth is established in heaven and revealed by the apostles of Christ (Ps. 119:89; Matt. 16:19). Hold fast to it (2 Tim. 1:13).

(4) God’s word is complete and unbiased. Human sources of information are often incomplete and biased. But God’s testimonies are “righteous and very faithful” (Ps. 119:138; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). Inquiring minds love the truth because it saves the soul (Acts 17:11-12; 2 Thess. 2:10). 


Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  05/24/2021

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